Friday evening I loaded up and Z and Betty, dropped by another barn to pick up a friend's horse, and drove out to the beautiful Donida Farms. After locating the stalls, settling the horses, and getting things organized, I took Betty to the indoor arena to let her get used to the surroundings. We looked around at all the new sights....mirrors, flower boxes, and all the other little things a horse might find scary. Betty, of course, didn't find any of them alarming. At all. I put her on the lunge line to get a little exercise and work out any kinks that she might have developed in the trailer. She worked just as well in the scary, new environment as she does at home. I hurried to get her put away so that I could bathe Z while there was still some daylight.
Saturday morning Betty showed in her very first classes. We almost missed our Stockhorse Halter class, but the judge let us sneak in at the last minute. Betty did very well standing waiting for the judge to come around to her. After asking her age and breed, the judge commented that she loved Betty's cute ears. I like 'em too. No ribbon in our first class, but because this show was to benefit a rescue, they also held a rescue horse halter class. Betty totally knew the routine for this class, and I was very proud of her. I was even more proud, though, when we were announced her as the third place horse in the class. Betty was done for the day after her two morning classes, and I shifted my attention to Z for the riding classes. He did great his first day showing. In our first walk/jog class after warming up with several walk only classes, Z looked so shocked when I asked him to jog off. I was really proud of the way he calmly took on everything he came across.
Sunday was the English day at the show, but the trail course was still open for both disciplines. Betty did the course in hand two times. The first time through, I brought treats and gave her a little reward after each obstacle. She handled all of them very calmly, Even though we had never done anything like this before. This is our second time through:
At the end of the day, it was announced that we placed fourth in this class. Way to go Betty!
When I went to catch Betty in her stall at the end of the day on Sunday, she turned her back to me showing that she was at the end of her good behavior. Even though she spent most of the weekend just being at the show, I can tell that she was pushed to her limits. She never wavered in her behavior with me, and I have to remember in the future that even if she is showing no outward signs, she may still be stressed out. It is always tempting with a quiet horse to push them too far too fast. Me and Betty have a lot of years together, and I don't want to push her faster than she is ready to go.
We will continue to build on this first exposure, and I am excited for what will come.